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Dear TLA Friends,

April kicked off with TLA’s annual trek to Providence, Rhode Island for the 2019 Blended and Personalized Learning Conference. As part of our ongoing partnership with the Highlander Institute, we held a full-day session for leaders focused on the following questions: “As we look towards the future of personalization, what are the challenges worth solving together? Where might we start?” 
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In response to this prompt, leaders from across the country and at different levels in the ecosystem identified topics ranging from ensuring equitable access to high-quality instructional materials to bridging the “ guidance gap” and helping promising innovations make the leap from pilots to the core of practice. All of the areas have three things in common. Each of them is critical to achieving an equitable and personalized education for every child, lacks easy answers, and can’t be solved by any one individual or organization alone. 

At TLA, we believe the solutions to these collective challenges will be found through the willingness to work together. By grappling honestly with tough questions, building and sustaining networks for our learning, and sharing as openly as possible, our sector will build capacity to tackle big hairy goals and sustain change across the country. It was a privilege engaging with such an amazing group, and we’re excited to share more on what we learned as well as invite others to take action in the coming months. 

Thank you for being a part of this important work.

Beth Rabbitt, CEO

Recent Highlights
TLA Welcomes Ashley Sandvi
Ashley Sandvi and Beth Rabbitt
We are thrilled to announce that Ashley Sandvi has joined us in the new role of chief of strategy and programs. Ashley brings a wealth of expertise to TLA, built from her experiences in organizational leadership, program design, and talent development. Prior to joining TLA, Ashley was co-president of the Poses Family Foundation, a philanthropic foundation that invests in the power of digital tools to provide expert information and support to millions of people. Learn more about Ashley on our website.
Innovation Directors Network Update
Members of TLA’s Innovative Directors Network (IDN) recently concluded their second convening in Dallas, TX. According to attendee Rebekah Kim, Executive Director of Teaching, Learning and Leadership at Highline Public Schools, “It is a great experience to be able to learn with other leaders across the states who are engaged with the same problems of practice and innovation in school systems. The intentionality around the research, content, and practitioner stories helps to deepen my thinking about what is possible for our students. I also appreciate the diversity of the group which includes school communities and leaders of color.” 
Innovation Directors Network group stands in front of Personalized Learning backdrop.
Hear from other IDN members on the TLA Blog, including Grace Magley, Director of Digital Learning for Natick Public Schools, Amy Dodson, Director of Instruction at Cisco Independent School District, Kristen Watkins, Director of Personalized Learning at Dallas Independent School District, Karen Perry, Director of Personalized Learning for Henry County Schools, and Jin-Soo Huh, Executive Director of Academic Innovation at Distinctive Schools. Additional posts from our IDN guest authors will be published on the TLA Blog soon.
Professional Learning at Lindsay Unified School District
TLA is working in partnership with Yet Analytics to develop and conduct research, along with data infrastructure and strategy, for Lindsay Unified School District (LUSD) to inform and improve their Teacher and School Leader Incentive program. The TSL grant, which is federally funded, supports multiple performance-based professional learning strategies that LUSD is using to develop adult learning competencies aligned to the Instructional Look Fors they previously developed with Transcend Education and Summit Public Schools.
Open Educational Resources: Practitioner and Leadership Guidance
TLA recently wrapped up a six-month project to investigate the state of open educational resources (OER) in innovative personalized teaching and learning models. We conducted interviews with school and system leaders in 15 states and conducted seven deep-dive site visits to explore and document successful OER approaches. We recently released a new series of Problems of Practice providing guidance for practitioners who want to learn about and implement OER. Stay tuned for a series of case studies coming soon.
IgnitED Research Series
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TLA has launched a new series that aims to strengthen the connection between learning science and instructional practice. Each monthly installment focuses on bite-sized pieces of evidence from learning science and an educator's perspective on what this means practically for teaching and learning in the classroom. Each written Insight includes a brief video, and the first three installments cover the myth of learning styles, how not all feedback is created equal, and the benefits of mixed-ability groups.
Don't Miss
Check out this new blog from the Learning Commons: Dallas ISD: Sharing the "what, why, and how" of personalized professional learning, as well as these new professional learning playlists:
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